Video Tutorial: How to Paint a Perfect Line

How to paint a straight line - Ask Anna
Many of you may have already read my post on how to paint a perfect line.  I wrote this post ages ago but I still get lots of emails asking me to explain the steps more clearly.  I’ve been wanting to put together a video tutorial for you but I hadn’t been planning on painting any stripes, until my recent bathroom makeover.
I hope this short video helps explain {more clearly} the steps for painting perfect lines, but as always, please feel free to email me if you are still confused. :)

Here’s the finished product!

How to paint a straight line - Ask Anna
About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. Anna, You are so clever! Thank you for the “straight line” lesson! I can’t wait to try it!

  2. Taylor Joni says:

    I am painting and I hate to paint, so this is a big help to me. Thanks.

  3. I am an artist and I should have figured this method out for myself YEARS ago! Maybe now my husband will let me paint the WALLS and not just on canvas!

    • Haha, that’s why I had to learn it! Now my husband doesn’t have an excuse for me to not paint the walls and I paint all the time! :)


  4. ok i have a question and i hope i don’t realize the answer as soon as i post it :\ so for these stripes did you just tape and paint for the first blue stripe and then clean up any bleeding when you painted the white? or did you do the same process with the blue strip as the white or did you just random paint the blue without taping?

    • I just taped and painted the original stripes. I tried to be pretty careful but there was definitely some bleeding that occurred. I knew I wanted to paint the white stripes though so I just cleaned it up when I painted them. :)


      • oh my, but what about the width of the tape? what is under that? did you paint the whole room white first, then paint the blue? sorry I don’t understand the painting of white again when you pull off the tape.

  5. Great video, I am looking forward to utilizing your technique when I repaint my baseboard.

  6. thank for that lesson. It will certainly save alot of time and headaches in the future :)

  7. This looks like a great idea. However if you have to make straight lines and don’t have both colors to work with, then you have to tape off (and hopefully have little to no bleed through) then paint on the one color you do have to work with, or learn to make straight lines by free-handing. I actually had to do that once! Time consuming! Thankfully I was only painting a “faux frame” on the wall around a mirror. Another trick is using a really good angled brush…I like Purdy.

    • Yes Purdy and Wooster brushes are my favorites. They make it “easy” to paint a straight line free-hand if you have to. :)

  8. do you have a tip for putting the tape perfectly straight?

    • We use a level and a pencil to draw the lines on and then tape on the line. It’s a little time consuming but it makes for very straight lines! :)

  9. Cheryl McNeal says:

    What is the best way to avoid “bleeding?” I am getting ready to paint my kitchen and just finished my living room a few weeks ago and darn if I didn’t have bleeding problems. Not terribly but some. I am using the scotch blue painters tape…. is “some” bleeding just to be expected no matter what or am I using too much paint?? Your thoughts please!! :-)

    • This trick is the best way I’ve found, to prevent bleeding. Doing this trick will seal up the tape and make it so the new paint can’t bleed through.

  10. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for the tip on the straight line. I have pine knot wood in my living room. I am wondering what would be the best way to paint over it? It is just to dark in my front room and I am considering painting the walls white. What would be your suggestion on covering up the pine knot would color?

    • I would probably paint them white. I think white painted wood has a nice beachy feeling. I would also fill in all the knots with putty so that you can’t see them after the wall is painted. Good luck! :)

  11. Andrea Stephen says:

    Seriously so easy! I never would have thought to paint the original color first! So smart! Thanks!! I’m always hesitant to paint because I’m not very precise! Now I don’t have to be!

  12. I’ve seen this technique many times. My question to you is about when you choose to remove the tape. I too have heard that removing the tape BEFORE the paint dries is the best idea. But what about when you have to do multiple coats!? Then how does this apply? If you remove and retape you can’t re-paint the baseboard colour as that would defeat the purpose. But, often when you do multiple coats and then remove the tape it pulls off the paint with it because of the thicker layer. Suggestions?

    • The last time I used this technique I did multiple coats and it worked fine. I made sure to remove the tape while the 2nd coat of paint was still wet. There were a couple places that pealed up, but I just went back and touched them up with a small straight-edge brush. Good luck! :)

  13. Anna,
    Thank you sooooo much for posting this tutorial! Three years ago, my hubby and I bought our first house, which is amazing, but when the downstairs was remodeled, instead of taking the time and expense of mudding and sanding the sheetrock (it replaced the original plaster and lathe) they chose to just spray a texture and call it good. I thought that there was no way that I could possibly do stripes, checks, or any other pattern over the texture – until I saw your entryway makeover! My walls have a bit more texture than yours, but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed and see how it works out. Sorry for the long winded comment, but seriously, I feel like I’ve been let out of one-color wall prison and really wanted to thank you!

  14. Oh my granny, thanks to your super video I finally get it!! Thank you so much
    for this tutorial–now I will be able to finish paintint my master bedroom!!! :)

  15. christi ucherek says:

    I have a question… you painted the blue stripes first, then taped on top of them for the step you showed?

    • I think the answer to this is yes, but I’m not sure I understand the question? Email me if you need help: askannamoseley (at) hotmail (dot) com.

  16. Hey, great video here. I think its also important to use a good quality brush to cut perfectly straight lines, my favourite brushes are Proform Picasso’s!

  17. Great idea! This seems much less intimidating. I painted my daughters room Hot Pink & grey and could of used this tip!

  18. We did this in the bathroom of our Tasting Room. Every person who enters comes back out raving about how beautiful it is. AND, they are blown away that we did it ourselves and not a professional. Beautiful.

  19. Denise Saylor says:

    Another tip that is similar to this…if you don’t have the original wall color to do this technique, you can also use clear Polycrylic or something like that. Paint the clear finish over the tape, let it bleed/dry, then paint with your color just like you did. Same perfect line :)

  20. Given that almost no home has straight walls and corners, how did you resolve that issue? Do you use a level to get the vertical straightness or did you follow something else?

    • I always have my husband draw the lines because I get crazy frustrated trying to do it. I’m not exactly sure his method but I know he does use a level.

  21. This is such an awesome way to do stripes! My daughter is going to be 8 in the beginning of March and I am re-doing her room! I’ve been thinking of doing stripes or chevron! Thanks!

  22. Just one question, how does the paint get under the blue tape? Was it during the process where you painted the blue paint on the white stripe area? Did it go through the tape?

  23. Nice tutorial, but you don’t explain how to actually tape the stripes… other words how do you apply the blue painter’s tape in perfectly straight lines from floor to ceiling?

    • I don’t do that, my husband does, I’m not patient enough. He measures and draws the lines using a level and a pencil, then I tape over the pencil lines. :)

  24. Barb Saunders says:

    Does this work for corners, too? I have trouble when the two walls meet and I try to change colors.

  25. Kendall says:

    We have textured walls. How can we prevent leaking under the tape against the texture?

    • I would use Frog Tape and make sure you follow this tutorial to a T. If your walls are really textured there will be some touching up to do, but it shouldn’t be too bad. Good luck! :)

  26. Lynn Novak says:

    Brilliant! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Great video!! How do you get the tape so straight?

  28. For me, the most important thing is the taping, which you completely skipped over. :( Why?

  29. Colleen Kaczka says:

    Hi, I was interested in your video about painting straight lines. I think the biggest dilema I have is taping straight lines. I would help if you showed how you tape so perfectly the straight lines. Just a thought…thanks for your help.

    • My husband draws the lines on first with a pencil and a level and then I use the line as the edge of my tape line. It makes it much easier to draw the lines on first rather than trying to tape perfectly. :)

  30. Colleen Kaczka says:

    Thanks would help if I knew how to get the lines straight with the tape….looks hard….

    • My husband draws the lines out 1st with a pencil and a level, then I tape over the lines. It makes it much easier to draw the lines first, rather than trying to tape them perfectly. :)

  31. Love you painting tips. Amazing what difference something so simple can make! One more thing, whose piano music is that at the endof you video?

  32. Barbara Eylers says:

    For some people you would have to explain how to put the tape on the wall, ( like measuring from the sides for the tape to be straight down he wall.,) I had to explain this to a friend when she wanted to paints stripes. thank you

  33. This is so clear & simple! I’ve been wanting to do my living room with alternating matte & satin stripes but knew if the edges were ragged it would drive me crazy! Thanks so much!!

  34. Sugar Kinney says:

    I loved this tutorial, brilliant. I always wondered how people did this. Thank you!

  35. Best line painting tip ever!

  36. Angela Michels says:

    I LOVE this tutorial! I have already tried it out with great success. It makes painting one focal pint wall a different color so easy! I also just recently tried this technique on some crafts I do signs on woodworking and canvas with contact paper stencils. Of course they do like to bleed a tad bit and don’t give me the perfect lettering I am so OCD about. Instead of constantly touching up blemishes this technique makes using stencils on signs a breeze! Thanks for the great tip!

  37. Julie Claassen says:

    I see how to paint the straight lines on the walls, but your picture shows crown molding. Is there a secret for painting next to the crown?

    • I use the same trick with the crown. Lay the tape, paint a thin layer of white paint (or whatever color your crown is) then paint the new wall color. I’ve also heard of people running a thin strip of caulking along the edge of the tape, to prevent bleeding, but I’ve never tried that before.

  38. Omg! thank you! you just saved me with this tutorial. I am painting white stripes on my upstairs hallway and I was so frustrated because my stripes kept bleeding through, I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong. This video clear that up quickly I will be doing this tomorrow thanks Annna!

  39. like to know the color of the green paint in the picture with the crown molding

  40. But what if you don’t know the original paint color? Our walls have an ugly, constructors yellow on them and I want to switch one wall to white and grey…

    • Bethany Davis says:

      Hi, Tara! I’m Anna’s assistant, Bethany. If you don’t have the original paint color, Anna recommends using a product that Frog Tape makes. The tapes works really well, as long as you follow the directions since it applies differently than regular painter’s tape. You can find the product here: (affiliate link). Hope this helps!

  41. Tony Graffia says:

    I have a miniature dollhouse I Polyurethane my hardwood floors after installed them.I taped up the crown moldings,but the clear and some of the stain got on the mldings.It’s been 24 hours since I did it how can I repaint the moldings,would a thin piece of poster paper work

  42. Perfectly painted stripes but not removing the vent cover and light switch drives me crazy. Now you have to clean the paint off them and it leaves a paint frame border on the wall. When you do take them off you have to sand down that paint frame border to level the wall paint again.